Hello! I’m Macy Manners and I’m here to help with all your questions regarding proper attire, rules of social graces and online etiquette. Feel free to send in your questions and I’ll try and answer them in a future article.
When my grandmother was young, they actually had classes on good manners. They taught you what to wear, how to eat and even how to dress. Today if you need some advice you have to Google it and hope for the best.
One of the things my grandmother always harped on us about was the rules of eating, especially when in the company of others — ie: at a dinner party. So I thought today would be a great time to go over some of the rules of dining while at an event.
Be on time!
Never arrive more than 15 minutes late. When it comes to a dinner party, everything has to be timed out perfectly and your late arrival can cause huge problems and puts a burden on your host, when they must decide whether to wait for you or to go ahead and start the evening without you.
Should you bring a gift?
When someone invites you to a dinner party, you should always show your gratitude by bringing a gift for the host or hostess, even if it just a casual get-together. A great dinner party gift could include a bouquet of flowers, boxed candies, a bottle of wine, a tin of cookies, a plate of fancy cupcakes or mini-cupcakes, or a large decorative candle. While any gift is of course appreciated, think twice before you bring cut flowers. As nice as they are, they force a busy host to stop making dinner and root around for a vase. If you are going to bring flowers, get flowers that already come in a vase.
What to keep off the table
When you sit down to eat at a formal event, anything that isn’t food should be removed from the table. This includes your purse, sunglasses and most importantly, your phone. It should also go without saying that while eating you shouldn’t have your phone out. If you find you need to check your phone or your head might explode, excuse yourself to go to the bathroom and do it in there. Never pull out your cell phone at the table. It’s very rude to do so.
When can you start eating?
If you’re seated at a table with eight or fewer guests, you should always wait until everyone is served and for the host or hostess to begin eating before you begin eating. The only real exception to this rules is if you are seated at a long banquet table, then it’s okay to start eating if several other people are already seated and served.
To drink or not to drink
If you don’t drink wine that’s perfectly okay but don’t make a big deal about it. Don’t turn your wine glass upside down and draw unneeded attention to yourself. Instead, simply place your fingertips on the rim of the glass and say ‘Not today, thanks.’
Don’t sit next to your boyfriend or husband
If there is no clear seating arrangement at dinner, resist the urge to sit next to your boyfriend or husband. there is no clear seating arrangement at dinner, resist the urge to break down along gender lines — there’s nothing more depressing than delivering on the stereotype, and realizing one side of the table is talking about book club and the other is talking about sports.
Send a thank you note
Within 48 hours you should send an email or text thanking the host for dinner. While a handwritten note in the mail is the classiest thing you can do, even just a simple, quick text saying thank you is just fine.